Friday, March 25, 2011

Writing Hint #12 - There's No Time Like The Present

Past is Present, Present is Future, Future is…Past?


Is it really Friday? Is it?

Whether you are writing a time travel adventure story, a paranormal, an alternate dimension, or a strait-forward contemporary there is one thing you absolutely need.

A timeline.

You may think you are absolutely brilliant at keeping track of days and hours in your manuscript. But more likely than not, you will get something mixed up at some point in the writing process. Keeping a detailed timeline of scenes and events will go a long way in making sure that your story makes sense to the reader. Déjà vu is confusing in day-to-day life, but experiencing it in a novel is beyond confusing. Don’t send your poor readers through time warp.

And face it…

A timeline will keep you as the writer from going crazy when you encounter time difficulties that you were certain had already been accounted for. In your mind at least. *grin*

Don't rely on your memory. Write everything down. Use a traditional calendar, or make lists of days. Find a system that works for you and is compatible with the makeup of your novel. Stick with that system.

Don’t try to keep everything in your head. There will be times that you mix up the days or forget how much time has actually passed (on and off the page).

Time has to make sense. To you and to your reader.

Use a timeline.


  1. LOL-yeah, I have to keep track of stuff. Especially when my characters are supposed to attend a certain event (and I say it's two weeks out).

    I definitely try and jot down some of the timeline stuff.

    Great post!

  2. Good advice, especially for those of us (me) who are incurably scatterbrained.

  3. Rebekah - Haha! Yes, you want to keep track of those events. You wouldn't want your character missing out! :)

    Brodi - Thanks! Yeah, I am pretty scatterbrained really scatterbrained. I write down *everything.* Thanks for the comment! :)

  4. I write fantasy, and there time is even more important, especially midnight! :0)

  5. Carole - Welcome to the blog! I absolutely agree with you. Keeping track of time is so very important in fantasy. Thank you for the comment!